Governor Cooper visits NC Aquarium after allocating $10 million toward its expansion

KURE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Governor Cooper made a splash in the Cape Fear this afternoon, visiting the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher after allocating $10 million in the budget toward its expansion.

Greeted by a turtle at the door, Cooper made his way through the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, getting to know the local flora and fauna. During the pandemic, nearly 30 million people visited state sites like this one.

“They were looking for ways to get out and learn and get exercise and enjoy the state during the pandemic,” said NC Cultural and Natural Resources Secretary Reid Wilson.

Cooper toured the soon-to-be renovated and expanded aquarium. The governor says ours is the most visited aquarium in the state, and the one that’s gone the longest without a renovation.

According to Cooper, “When we talk about what aquarium means to educate people about our environment and about the challenges we face, or climate change and clean water and making sure that we preserve what God has given us, we also need to think about the economic impact of places like Fort Fisher Aquarium in North Carolina. If you go look in the parking lot, you’ll see the license plates from people all over bringing dollars into our state. Those tourism dollars mean a lot.”

According to the aquarium, construction should begin on that nearly $30 million expansion in 2024. Cooper believes having a thriving aquarium could draw more people to our region to both visit and live.

“Our parks, our natural areas, across our state are invaluable. It makes us the great state we are and part of who we are as North Carolinians.”

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